MOFFETT SEALS WYEDEAN WIN
The Monaghan driver was a late entry but showed no signs of slowing in the Dean forests
Organiser: Forest of Dean Motor Club When: November 12 Where: Forest of Dean, gloucestershire Championship: MSA Welsh Rally Championship; HRCR Stage Masters; ANWCC Forest Championship; Welsh Clubmans Forest Championship; WAMC Mixed Surface; ASWMC Loose; Gwynne speed Rally Challenge Stages: 6 Starters: 120
Josh Moffett was a late entry to the Wyedean Stages Rally, and rewarded his trip from Monaghan in Ireland to take victory among some strong competition.
Moffett – confirmed as a candidate for the Billy Coleman award last week ( news page 16) – brought the family Ford Fiesta RS WRC over for the event to tackle a host of strong British Fiesta entries.
On the entry list, Damian Cole was the only other Wrc-spec Ford machine but the Welshman pulled out after SS1 due to concerns about the conditions. That left R5 exponents Callum Black/elliott Edmondson and Martyn England/ Dawn England to take up the mantle.
Black delivered through the first two stages, heading Moffett by four seconds. The pace was even more impressive given the Brackley man’s healing wrist, on this his first rally back since breaking it after falling off a horse. The metaphorical getting back on the horse didn’t take long.
Both England and Black suffered issues through the third stage on the compact event, running three repeated stages to make six in total.
Black suffered a spin in conditions likened to the events seen in snow and ice when the rally ran in January. England had a turbo pipe come loose, which then exposed an oil leak. Fearing further damage, he had to retire.
That left a three-stage shooutout between Black and British Rally Championship event winner Moffett. But the Irishman, with Jack Walby on the notes for the first time, pulled out his advantage from 12 to 46s by the end of the event. It was Moffett’s fourth win in 2016, having won the last three events he’s finished.
The fight for the podium was a little closer. Home favourite and BTRDA Gold Star champion Shaun Gardner and historic frontrunner Nick Elliott fought it out. Gardner’s Mitsubishi prevailed, although the driver was feeling the effects of having not done many events in 2016. Elliott was the opposite, revelling in the experience he’s had in his Ford Escort Mk2, finishing top historic and providing some of the most committed and flamboyant action out on the popular stages. For some spectators, he and navigator Ian Davies may as well have been the winners.
Rounding out the top five was Ben Llewellin. Son of British champion, David, he was out on his second event in 2016, as his shooting keeps him away from rallying for the most part. The Welshman has held the British and UK junior shooting titles, and impressed in his assault on the top five in his historic-spec Escort Mk2. He finished the day only 18s off Elliott with MSA Academy co-driver Ross Whittock alongside him on the notes.
A class winner in sixth, Rob Swann and Darren Garrod struggled to lay down the power of the Subaru Impreza S12B WRC, but impressively brought the car home safe and sound in sixth overall, after more than a few spins.
A host of potential event frontrunners expired on the taxing Forest of Dean-based event. Tristan Bailey took a wheel off his Mitsubishi Lancer WRC04, while Sacha Kakad rolled his Lancer E10 in spectacular fashion. Sara Williams hit a tree and broke the door on her Subaru Impreza, with pre-stage scrutineers deeming the car unable to compete.
Moffett’s WRC was rapid in the forests